Nicola Sturgeon made it clear today that Brexit could well mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it. However, Scotland isn’t the only nation in the UK that has grave concerns about it’s economic future outside of the EU.
As Theresa May prepares to start the Brexit process, Britain may ultimately now be on a path that will see over 300 years of history come to and end as the individual nations of the United Kingdom choose to go their own way.
Scotland Will Be Voting Again
While we expect British Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 in the next few days, Scotland today made it’s first major bid to secure its own future as a fully paid up member of the European Union.
Scotland’s First Minister confirmed she is going to seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament next week to start negotiations with the UK Government regarding another referendum. In the attempt to make sure Scotland stays in the single market, which is vital for the country’s economy, the Scottish government tried to negotiate with the UK government to be allowed to strike its own deal with the EU, but achieved nothing.
“I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process – a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.”
Nicola Sturgeon wants a second independence vote to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 backing those 62% of Scots who voted to stay in the EU in last year EU referendum. When asked about possible outcomes of the second referendum, Nicola Sturgeon said she was sure of victory.
Northern Ireland Wants its Special Status
Northern Ireland is also showing growing concern over the government’s Brexit at whatever the cost strategy. Just as with Scotland, Northern Ireland voted on June, 23 to stay in the EU and the Irish, justifiably, feel very uneasy about being taken out of Europe.
The Irish Parliament’s Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in its recent report on the likely impact of Brexit on jobs and enterprise says clearly that Northern Ireland needs a special deal with the EU which ensures Northern Ireland’s access to the Single Market, all EU Funding streams, and the Common Travel Area.
Besides, such a deal should “protect the rights of Northern Irish citizens as Irish and, therefore, EU citizens, and all rights pertaining thereto.”
Furthermore, the report stresses that 56% of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, hence ‘it is important to uphold the democratic vote of citizens on this island to remain, and to act in the national interests of the whole island.’
There is also an issue of free travel between north and south, which is fundamental to the Good Friday Agreement and to both countries’ well-being.
The Club of Political Instability
Consequently, Ireland is joining the “club of political instability” heading into a very uncertain future, with little power to protect itself from the fallout should UK fail to strike a favourable deal with the 27 EU nations. Already there has been an incredible surge in support for Sinn Fein at the last elections, and unionists are raising their voices.
As there is no support from the UK government to negotiate any special status for Northern Ireland after Brexit, more and more people are looking at what advantages reunification can bring. A referendum on Northern Ireland status in the UK has never been off Sinn Fein’s agenda, Brexit may well provide the means to make it happen.
Jersey’s Ambition is More Independence Post-Brexit
Amidst Scotland and Northern Ireland’s struggle to preserve their relationships with the EU after Brexit, Jersey is quietly joining the Brexit Games trying to gauge how they can benefit the divorce.
As it’s stated in the recent article in the Jersey Evening Post, the External Relations Minister Senator Philip Bailhache said while visiting Brussels recently that Jersey must make the best out of Brexit by trying to gain greater independence from the UK. He added that he wanted the debate over Brexit to concentrate on whether Jersey should take more control over its own affairs and possibly form a new jurisdiction with other Channel Islands.
It’s not the first time the Senator has spoken out about greater independence for Jersey and Channel Islands. This time, however, he has a prospect of hard Brexit on his side.
Does Brexit really mean, just Brexit? Or will history recall that Brexit meant the start of the end of the United Kingdom.